Former Sens D-man gives figure skating a twirl

Former Senators defenceman Curtis Leschyshyn will appear on CBC's Battle of the Blades this fall....

Former Senators defenceman Curtis Leschyshyn will appear on CBC's Battle of the Blades this fall. (Supplied)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:40 AM ET

OTTAWA - Curtis Leschyshyn is trading his hockey skates for figure skates.

The former Senators defenceman, who retired five years ago, has been cast on this fall’s edition of Battle of Blades.

The 42-year-old Leschyshyn wasn’t the strongest skater during his 16-year NHL career and had never put his feet in a pair of figure skates until mid-July when he attended a training camp in Toronto. It was an eye-opener.

“You think you can skate because you played hockey your whole life, but you put a pair of figure skates on and it’s like learning to walk again,” said Leschyshyn. “It’s a completely different style of skating.”

Close friend Kelly Chase, a former St. Louis Blues tough guy who appeared on the show last year, badgered Leschyshyn to take on the challenge.

“I told him: ‘There’s no chance I’ll ever do that.’” said Leschyshyn. “He kept working me over and I finally said, ‘Yeah, OK, I’ll do it.’ That was just so (Chase) would stop bothering me about it.”

The show’s talent co-ordinator/broadcaster Christine Simpson called to see what Leschyshyn’s level of interest was and explained that the money goes to whatever charitable cause he chooses.

Leschyshyn has stayed in shape during his retirement by cycling. He’s more than an enthusiast — he’s won road races in Colorado.

So, why do it?

“The charity is the No. 1 reason and No. 2 it’s a personal challenge. I’m an athlete, a competitive athlete, and I want to personally see how far I can push myself,” said Leschyshyn.

“Once I put on a pair of figure skates, I gained a lot of respect for these people.

“I now know how good Olympic figure skaters really are. I spin once and I’m so dizzy I want to fell down.”


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